MERE hours after confirmation of PM David Cameron’s bolt from the blue majority return to No.10, Woking’s Conservatives were too riding the tidal wave of Tory success to sweep 10 of 12 seats up for grabs in last Thursday’s Borough Council Elections.
Friday night’s count at a packed HG Wells Centre proved to be another true blue one for the Tories as they kept a firm grasp on eight ‘safe’ borough wards, while two new kids on the block reserved their places in the Civic Chambers.
However, all newly and re-elected councillors know that their time in power may be short; with plans to redraw the borough’s voting boundaries all set to go ahead next year, reducing the number of seats from 36 to 30.
Long-standing Tory councillor Beryl Hunwicks successfully retained her Horsell West seat for a third straight poll, securing 51% of the vote, while Anne Murray (Horsell East & Woodham), Graham Chrystie (Pyrford), Graham Cundy (St Johns & Hook Heath) and Richard Wilson (West Byfleet) also stayed put with overwhelming majorities. Harry Briggs also ensured Byfleet stayed blue.
Elsewhere, the blue wave continued with Hilary Addison romping home in Goldsworth East with 44% of the ballot, and in Knaphill where Melanie Whitehand recorded a 54% share, with tellers seeing an unexpectedly high turnout across the board – including new and young voters – which boosted casting figures to over two-thirds in most areas.
Tory pair John Lawrence and Paul Smith also picked up traditional Liberal Democrat strongholds from Louise Morales and Tina Liddington in Old Woking and Hermitage & Knaphill South, respectively.
Kingfield & Westfield Lib Dem occupant Will Forster ensured at least one yellow light remained alight amid the sea of blue, despite having to endure the drama of a late night recount; such was the slim margin of his 971 to 922 defeat of Conservative opponent Natalie Bourne.
Ahead of next year’s boundary change – which will include the new ‘Canalside’ Ward – Tahir Aziz won the solitary Labour seat in Maybury & Sheerwater, and stated his intention to fight what he regards as a ‘one-sided’ Tory Woking chamber to secure ‘the best possible deal’ for residents in the areas’ mass regeneration project.
More to follow in Thursday’s News & Mail